Adult children with aging or elderly parents are understandably reluctant to put their parents into nursing homes or similar long term care facilities. Only in 2007, Calgary residents may remember that the Calgary Health Region terminated its contract with Holy Cross Centre, forcing 42 elderly residents to relocate. Problematic nursing homes and long term care facilities can be found not just in Calgary, but across Canada. Again and again, elder care in nursing homes is found to be sub-par – elders are abused, neglected, or simply feel unloved. It is not surprising, then, that relatives of seniors and elders are looking for new models for caring for their elders.
Some adult children of the elderly graciously take their parents into their own homes. Others feel they can’t take their elders into their home, because their elders cannot be left alone during the day. It is usually at this point that caregivers reluctantly place their parents into a nursing home or a long term care facility.
A new trend in long term care is the adult day care centre. In the Calgary area, many health centres provide adult day care. These day care programs provide seniors and elders with a safe place to stay during the day while also providing enriching social activities and nutritious meals.
Alberta Health Services runs fourteen such programs in and around Calgary. To enroll a senior into a day support program, elders or their caregivers must first be a Home Care client. The elder’s Home Care – Community Care Coordinator must then refer the elder to one of the regionally funded programs. The good news is that day support is provided for a scant $8 per day.
Plan Now – Calgary is Cutting Back Beds
On September 16, 2009, the cash-strapped Alberta health care system announced that it would cut 350 beds around Alberta, with the bulk of these being in Calgary and Edmonton. Many of these 350 beds are occupied by seniors who are waiting for placement into a long term care facility.
The good news is that Alberta is cutting the beds in order to create more alternatives for long term care for seniors in Calgary and throughout Alberta: plans call for 800 community living spaces, which will include assisted living homes, home care, and new long term care facilities. However, in the meantime, residents of Calgary and the surrounding area should expect some bumps in the road as these changes wash through the Alberta health care system.